Felix Salmon

The Chrysler bondholders’ enviable deal

Scott Sperling has some home truths for Chrysler bondholders whining about how they’re being treated unfairly:

Does “shareholder value” make any sense?

Justin Fox, in an excerpt from his new book, explains that “shareholder value” didn’t always mean “share price”:

Mark Patterson’s publicity troubles

Mark Patterson, of MatlinPatterson, is having his lawyers run around all manner of blogs trying to get them to remove a story originally printed — and possibly to be printed again — in the Daily Telegraph. At this point, all the unhelpful publicity that’s resulting is making it seem as though he would have been better off just ignoring the original article. But while he’s in the news, let’s not forget that he’s not only being accused of calling the TARP a “sham” and a gift to speculators. He’s also the chap who seems to be doing end-runs around bank-ownership rules which seem to be designed to violate the spirit if not the letter of regulations barring private-equity shops from owning banks. Since he’s in the public eye, perhaps now is a good time to start investigating that side of things more closely?

Why didn’t the WSJ stress-test the big banks?

The WSJ has a very pretty interactive graphic, showing what’s likely to happen to the capital of 940 small and medium-sized banks if the “adverse” scenario in the government’s stress test comes to pass. Essentially, using public information, the Journal tried to replicate the stress tests across the industry as a whole.

No consumers need worry about the credit card rules

Francis Cianfrocca is scaremongering: the new credit card regulations, he says, will end up hurting people who pay off their balance in full every month.

The book of the year

It’s one of the most eagerly-awaited books of 2009, and it features “a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang”. More generally, there’s a “splendid cast of characters [which] includes villains, a few heroes, and a lot of people who look very, very foolish”, including “the goats and the few who saw what the emperor was wearing”.

Barry Ritholtz’s book: Where are the bloggers?

Barry Ritholtz’s book just landed on my desk, and I’m looking forward to reading it, since I think that bloggers in general, and Barry in particular, have been very much ahead of the curve in terms of identifying and comprehending the contours of this crisis.

TED datapoint of the day: 48bp

Remember the TED spread? It closed at 139bp on March 17, which was a decided improvement over the levels over 400bp we saw last fall, but was still pretty wide.

Financial branding datapoint of the day

As Lance Knobel notes, the methodology behind the annual BrandZ league tables is full of mumbo-jumbo — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make like-for-like comparisons. So here’s last year’s league table for financial institutions, on the left, and this year’s, on the right.